Cuban Dissident Orlando Zapata Tamayo Dies

For the first time since 1972, a Cuban dissident has died after going on a hunger strike. Florida Congressmen in Washington denounced the death Tuesday of Orlando Zapata Tamayo, who stopped eating in December, and called on Obama to "stand in solidarity" with dissidents opposing the Castro regime.

The U.S. already drew the ire of the Cuban government earlier this week when a U.S. delegation met with dissidents, despite stern warnings from the oppressive communist regime.

Zapata, a 42-year-old plumber and bricklayers who was arrested in 2003 for public disorder, contempt and disobedience, stopped eating on December 3 to protest repeated beatings by guards.


Republican Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart called Zapata's death "an act of

conviction, a call for freedom in the face of oppression," according to

the Miami Herald.

Rep.

Mario Diaz Balartcalled on Obama "to stand in solidarity with the Cuban

people and stop appeasing the Cuban regime with direct talks and

unilateral concessions while heroes like Orlando Zapata continue to die

in Castro's jails."

Zapata's mother, Reina Tamayo, called her son's death "a premeditated murder" after he was beaten and tortured in prison.

The Cuban media did not immediately repot the death, according to the Herald. And there are reports that police presence in the streetes has been boosted.

Zapata's

body will be transported from the eastern provice of Camaguey to his

hometown of Banes through a relay of hearses and ambulances.

The last Cuban dissident to starve himself to death was Pedro Luis Boitel in 1972.


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